Valient Viewers of Braver Homes and Gardens

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Cover for Your Boppy

When I was pregnant with the Sprout, my sister gave me her old Boppy.  This pillow made it through her three babies and my little Sprout.  I love this pillow and it's still in great shape!  But I decided that it really needed some freshening up before baby number 2 comes along.  The recover was very easy to do and took less than an hour!

(In my posts, I assume readers have basic machine sewing skills.  But if I'm clear as mud, please post a comment or email me - I'm happy to answer questions!) 

Supplies needed:  One yard of cotton fabric, 45" wide AND 3/8 yard contrast fabric 
OR  1-1/4 yard cotton fabric, 45" wide
One 22-24" zipper that matches your fabric.
Sewing machine & matching thread

The cover has a zipper so I just unzipped it and used a seam ripper to remove the zipper in order to reuse on the next cover.  

I had "owls" as my baby shower theme and my mother-in-law spied this piece of fabric.  She bought a yard, ended up not having a use for it, and gave it to me.  The one-yard piece was just the right amount to recover the boppy!  

Using the seam ripper, also rip out the band at the inner curve of the boppy.  

I laid the old boppy fabric on top of the new and used it as my pattern to cut out the top and bottom.

And this is the part where I got in the sewing groove and forgot to take pictures so I'm going to do my best to describe what I did.  Put your new top and bottom right sides together.  Using your old cover as a guideline, mark where the zipper went with pins and baste shut between your pins.  Sew the new zipper in following the manufacturer's directions.  

Remove the basting.   

Use the old band piece as a pattern to cut out the new band piece (you only need one).  Make sure you cut it on the bias/diagonal as shown otherwise the fabric won't stretch into the curve the way you'll need it to.  

Use the fold lines from the old band to help create the folds on the ends of the new band and pin it, right sides together, to the new top and bottom.  Sew it into place.  I used only a 1/2" seam for this part.

Pin the remainder of the top and bottom together and stitch the rest of the boppy closed.  Work the zipper to open it and flip it all right sides out.  Put your new cover on and admire your handy work!.

Now, if you used your pillow on your own baby, reminisce.

Here's the Sprout at 1 month old in the old Boppy:

Sniff, sniff!  NOW here he is at 8 months in the new Boppy, keeping it warm for his new sibling on the way:

My gosh, they do not stay little!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Word for 2014

Egads!  My last post was September!  Well, that's what happens with a little Sprout undertow.  He's getting so big, and nearly 8 months old!

I've read so many great posts from bloggers who have chosen a word or phrase as their motto for 2014.  The Conductor and I did this last year and really liked it.  We found that it was so much more realistic to choose a mindset rather than a (typically) unattainable goal.  Last year mine was "Organize" and I did a ton of organizing and developing good routines for our household.   The Conductor's was "Waste Not Want Not" and with that in mind, and with me organizing much more, we were able to make better use of space and better use of our resources.  

This year, his word is "Learning" because he wants to make an effort to learn new skills, especially ones that will allow us to be more self-sufficient.  

Here he is teaching himself computer programming.  Wow!

My mantra for 2014 is "Plan Ahead".  Working full time with an 8-month old at home seriously limits my time and energy and I've found myself slacking off on the chores, cooking healthy meals, and my hobbies just from lack of planning.  And I've wasted so much precious free time just from having no plan, or from not having supplies on hand or a schedule set.  

And I need to get into the habit of planning ahead because my time and energy will be even MORE limited before too long...

Yep.  I am expecting AGAIN.  Number 2 is actually due on the Sprout's 1st Birthday in May!  Couldn't've planned that better if I tried!  

Talk about needing to plan ahead!  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Harley Fest 2013

Labor Day weekend my hometown of Milwaukee hosted the 110th Harley Davidson reunion.  The whole city was flooded with Harley riders that come from all over the world  for the reunion.  Here's just a few  pictures  of what our streets looked like:
Our Downtown

Semi-related thought:  I once dated a guy that worked for Harley Davidson.  He took me for my first ride on a motorcycle.  I've never said so many Hail Mary's in a row in my whole life.

Anyway:  Our plan for Labor Day was to go to the Milwaukee Art Museum.  My family doesn't ride, but we still have our hometown pride and we did our best to instill it in the Sprout.  Look at this Bruiser:

Yea.  I put (wash off) tattoos on my little belly shover.  What kind of biker doesn't have a few tats?  (That and we saw a tattoo exhibit while at the museum).  

There's no straight pipes on his wheels.  And if you're wondering how many horses his ride has, well that depends on how tired mommy and daddy are:

 Cutest Fat Boy ever!  Seriously - look at the pudge on those thighs!

And don't be fooled.  You're never too much of a tough guy that you can't wear a pink bib and get a little snuggle from your Oma.    

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Airplane Hat

For Labor Day weekend I made another little hat for the Sprout.  He wears a lot of baby blue and brown and I happened to find a cute airplane print for a hat.

This is another hat using McCall's 6575.

Another super easy pattern to follow.  I did this one in about an hour, including two interruptions by the Sprout for feeding and cuddling.  I don't believe the directions call for using buckram in the brim, but I wanted it stiffer so I stuck a piece in.  I also added the chin strap which was not part of the original pattern.

It's also a bit too big for infants, but I just added a strip of elastic to the back so he'll be able to wear this for a good long time.

He looks cute, if a little bit sleepy - he was napping in his Moby and I took this picture right after he woke up.  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Cake in Mug

Last night the Conductor and I wanted some dessert but all we had were store bought cookies and candy.  Not very exciting.  I persuaded him to revive a pregnancy favorite.  I didn't blog at all while I was pregnant with the Sprout.  But there was a period of about a week where we had the following conversation:

Him:  Do you want anything from the kitchen?

Me:  Yes.  A piece of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.

Him:  Do we *have* any chocolate cake?

Me:  No.

Him:  (Rolls eyes at my crazy pregnancy logic).

My Mother-in-law had loaded us up with Christmas treats and before we could finish those, the Girl Scout cookies came.  Seeing as how we were already overloaded with goodies, I didn't want to buy a cake and with the pregnancy fatigue I wasn't about to bake one.  So we just repeated the futile conversation over and over until one night when the Conductor remembered and NPR interview he heard with a man who had written a microwave cookbook.

One of the recipes was for individual cakes in a mug where you mix the ingredients right in the cup then bake in the microwave.  They are all over the internet but here's an example.  Here's the finished product:

It makes a pretty large portion so two people could even split it.  We topped ours with some nummy Sanders fudge sauce (made in the Conductor's home state of Michigan) and some raspberry sauce that I made with berries from our yard.  (Just a saucepan full of berries and a handful of sugar cooked down to liquid).

It was delicious!  Now that we've had it a few times, some tips:

Stir the ingredients with a fork to blend better.  Don't add more batter than called for (I tried making individual cakes with a box mix and poured in WAY too much and it overflowed,  making a mess).  Keep the cook time to 2 minutes.  Anything more and the cake will get dry.

Great for a pregnancy craving...or a chocolate craving...when you don't want an entire cake sitting around.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Garden Shoes

Wow!  My maternity leave is just about over with.  The Conductor got two weeks for daddy leave.  He took one week of his FMLA leave after the Sprout was born and we wisely decided to use his other week about 2 1/2 months in.  This gave us time to get to know our little one's quirks, how he is in restaurants and on car rides and so on.  We were hoping to do some family vacation type stuff and since we were blessed with a good baby, it was a lot of fun.

We didn't do anything too wild with an infant, of course.  But we did have a few over nighters. For our first one, we went up to Baraboo, WI, home of the Barnum and Bailey Circus.  My sister lives there so it was nice to have a visit.   And she's funny, but no, she's not a circus clown.

The Sprout got to have his first train ride.  The Conductor was in his element - he is the 257th most important man in model railroading, after all.

The train ride was at a historic site which also featured a blacksmith demonstrating the technique.  He had all kinds of doo-dads that he had made stuck in the ground and all super cheap!

I spied these things, which he said were tent stakes.

But I was thinking of my garden shoes.  I keep them on our enclosed back porch.  Although it's enclosed, we still get the occasional mouse.  Ew!  I have a perfectly reasonable totally irrational fear that I'm going to put them on and have my toe bitten off by a mouse that decided to turn my shoe into its nest.

So, the blacksmith said tent stakes, (at $2 a piece - can you believe it!) but I saw this:

So, for four bucks, I'm going to try hanging them from the tent stakes outside the porch door.  They're rubber shoes so they can handle getting wet.  I'm hoping it'll keep the mud and dirt outside.  Too bad it won't keep the mice out...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

No Frilly Dresses

So, I had a little Sprout.  Why no pictures of all the baby clothes I made?  Well, I didn’t make any.  The Conductor and I decided not to find out the gender ahead of time.  But at about my sixth month, I began to have really strong feelings that it was a boy.  I couldn’t explain it, there was no science behind it, I just kind of knew. The Conductor confessed that he, too, thought it would be a boy.  

I secretly hoped that it might be a girl anyway.  I am a seamstress, after all.  Think of the things I could make!  Dresses, short sets, pinafores, smocks, and bloomers!  And matching hair things!  There could be appliqu├ęs and rick rack and eyelet and ribbons!  Plus all the Mommy-and-Me matching stuff – like aprons and church outfits – and matching winter coats!  Endless possibilities like this one from Smashed Peas and Carrots.  

Still, when the conductor peered around the operating curtain and announced, “It’s a boy!” I wasn’t surprised or disappointed.  After all, I suspected it was a boy for three months.  The Sprout is adorable and from day one my heart melted every time I looked at him.

And then I went to the fabric store for the first time since he came.  They had the new pattern books out.  Time to see what kind of baby things I could make for my little guy!

Friends, there is NOTHING fun to sew for boys!  There’s about 27,348 patterns of cute things for girls.  There's maybe two patterns for boys - one for a long sleeved shirt and pants and another for a short sleeved shirt with shorts.  Big whoop. 

I was bummed but it shouldn’t have surprised me.  Boys don’t care about clothes.  They don't need ruffles and rick-rack and matching outfits for their dollies.  Boys are basic when it comes to clothes and fashion.  It shouldn’t have surprised me that sewing options for boys would be just as basic (and boring!).  

That’s when it really sank in.  There would be no aprons.  No pinafores.  No dresses with matching bloomers.  Eyelet?  I think not-let.   A cute applique?  Not today.  

Reluctantly I picked out one of the two boy patterns in the book.  I walked around the store trying hard to convince myself that sewing on bug fabric and car fabric and superhero fabric will be way more fun than sewing on eyelet and flower fabric.  Trying hard no to think about the pile of pink fabric in my stash, I took it home, laid out the pattern for a hat on some very non-girly paw print fabric and finished the project.  I put it on the Sprout's little bean to try the sizing as I wondered how on earth a paw print hat could possibly compare to a frilly dress with zig-zag trim and a matching apron and then I got this:

OH MY GOSH is he cute or what?  This is McCalls' 6575 which features three boy hats and (pathetically three girl hats, too.  How sad is it that they could only come up with three boy hat patterns?) I put this on him for a ride to visit the gals at the office - they all thought it was adorable.  

Here's the side view.  Is that not the cutest?  I've never made many hats before.  This was super easy.  If I didn't have to stop every 2 minutes to tend to the Sprout, I could've made this in about 20 minutes, including cutting time.  

 And here's one more.  He looks like he's ready to go for a drive in his new paw-print, very boyish - yet very stylish - driving cap.  Maybe sewing for a little boy won't be so bad after all?  (See how I coordinated his outfit with a onesie that had a doggie on it?)